Chain smoking – How I stopped
This trick is for hardened or heavy smokers, and especially chain smokers. Though, this technique can easily be harnessed by any smoker to help them cut down or even quit. A lot depends on your personality.
Table Of Contents:
- 1 Chain smoking – How I stopped
- 2 How it started
- 3 Got the T-Shirt?
- 4 Observation
- 5 Rule creation
- 6 Don’t be afraid
- 7 RULE 1
- 8 Trigger
- 9 Addiction or habit?
- 10 Choosing your “ciggy place“
- 11 How did you do?
- 12 Good luck chain smokers of the world.
- 13 Addendum
- 14 Portable ciggy place
- 15 Please share this article with people it may help
- 16 Share this:
- 17 Related
How it started
I started smoking when I was 11 years old. I’m writing this aged 56, that’s 45 years of addiction. I have also been a gambling addict since as long as I can remember. It most likely started at the seaside slots when I was about 10 years old. I was also diagnosed with ADD back in 1999, there is a ADD\ADHD (UK link) connection to addiction by the way, but that’s another story.
When I started out to try and break my chain smoking habit, I never intended, or even wanted, to quit smoking completely, because I believe I really do enjoy a smoke. Regardless of what everyone says about us not REALLY enjoying it.
The problem was though, I was currently chain smoking; about 35-45 a day, and apart from costing a fortune it was making me feel really ill.
Got the T-Shirt?
I’ve tried all the rubbish that doesn’t work (for most hardened smokers), like patches, gum, and inhalers, (£24 each inhaler and they made me immediately vomit) I even tried the latest drug at the time from my doctor (Champix) but the side-effects were devastating.
Vaping (electronic cigarettes) worked for a month or so but then I suddenly couldn’t Vape any more (after having a chest infection) now, just one draw on a electronic cigarette sends me into a coughing and retching fit that can last hours.
So I had all but given up hope of breaking my chain smoking habit.
Then sometime in mid 2016, I was lighting up yet another fag as the last one was still smouldering in the ashtray and for some reason that image burnt into my mind and I couldn’t shake it, and it bothered me.
I knew I had to find my own way of at least cutting down, and hopefully, stopping, this chain smoking madness. So I put my analytical skills to work on the problem.
One of the few positive traits about my personality is the ability to see myself as I am. I do not kid myself about anything, good or bad. I am my own harshest critic.
This trait has helped me discover a simple, but extremely effective trick to help cut my smoking to 15 or less smokes a day, and unlike other smoking programs, this costs absolutely no money at all.
I want to share this with everyone (though I may develop it into a 10 step program to fully quit, if I think it will work, and sell that, who knows?)
I observed my smoking habits in fine detail and noted certain traits. I then thought about coping techniques to overcome them, just like I had to when I managed to overcome the worst effects of my Attention Deficit Disorder. (USA link)
It didn’t take long to figure out some techniques that should work for me based on my truthful analysis of why how and when I lit up a smoke. More importantly was how I felt about it at that time, did I really need it? Was I actually enjoying that particular smoke? What triggered me into wanting to light up that cigarette? Etc.
The very first rule I created turned out to be so effective that I didn’t want or need to move on to rule 2 to be honest, as rule 1 was so easy to accomplish, and it broke my chain smoking habit immediately.
I went on to create other rules but I only ever needed rule 1. And that’s what I’m going to tell you about now.
I had set myself some difficult caveats for when I created a new rule.
- Hardly any “will power” should be required, as I am a weak person 🙂
- NEVER leave me without access to a cigarette.
The reasoning behind the 2nd caveat is that I found the fear of not being able to access a smoke at all was such a huge negative for a hardened smoker like myself; it does more damage than good. The anxiety and stress of the situation just made me want to smoke even more.
I almost broke my gambling habit using similar techniques to this smoking trick, but I just can’t seem to shrug off on-line gambling completely, but I’m almost there.
Not that many years ago I used to virtually live in betting offices from opening to closing, 7 days a week, or until I was broke, whatever came first. Now I never go to the bookies.
Don’t be afraid
So, you can see, I understand the feelings and fears of addiction. Don’t be afraid to take this step, you will be cutting your smoking by huge amounts almost immediately.
You will not mind one bit, because of the huge benefits you will get from doing this. I cut my chain-smoking by about 65% straight away, mostly painlessly.
Before you start using rule one, spend a day counting how many cigarettes you smoke naturally. Otherwise you won’t know just how many you have cut back by when you start the rule.
While you are observing, note your habits. Simple things like, do you have a smoke with your coffee and then have another fag after your coffee?
In that case, you could try to hold off smoking until you have nearly finished the drink and save a smoke every time. I did this by simply having a biscuit with my coffee.
Okay, here it is, my first rule. It’s easy to keep to, and it’s really effective if you do it right.
“Smoke as much as you want, as long as your cigarettes are not easy to get at without some effort.”
Please let me explain in more detail before you shrug this idea off.
When I work at my computer, which is about 16 hours a day, I tend to chain-smoke, especially when I am really involved in a project that requires a lot of thought or stress, like writing this article for example 🙂
I found that every time I paused to think, I would grab my tobacco and roll a fag, most of the time I did it without thinking.
I recall that many times I didn’t even remember rolling that last ciggy, or even smoking it! and yet there it was in the ashtray in front of me, smouldering away.
That smouldering butt, acted as a trigger (or reminder if you prefer) to light up another fag, ad infinitum.
The simple and extremely effective solution to this problem was to put my tobacco downstairs near my front door.
This meant I had to stop work, get my fat ass out of my computer chair, and go down the very steep stairs, roll the cigarette there, struggle back up the stairs, sit down at the computer and then light up.
Lighting up when you return and not in your ciggy place is important, it pauses you for a bit longer.
This may not sound much of a big deal, it isn’t really, but it gave me precious seconds to think about what I was doing.
Did I REALLY need a smoke right now and then? Is it worth all that effort? Stopping work, up and down those bloody stairs!
Addiction or habit?
You will soon realise that you do not really need most smokes; I believe chain-smoking is all about habit rather than addiction, and this is why nicotine patches do not really work for a lot of hardened smokers. I think the initial boost from using patches is just the placebo effect.
It’s not a lack of nicotine; it’s just the habit of sub-consciously reaching for a fag. From my experiments on myself, I feel my natural smoking rate is about one cigarette an hour due to nicotine addiction, all the rest; I smoke purely out of habit, and obviously, a habit is a hell of a lot easier to break or change than an addiction is.
So, by making myself go through the rigmarole of up and down the stairs I was giving myself a chance to cancel that habit and replace it with a new, slightly pain in the ass, habit.
I benefited because of the extra exercise of course which helps add to the feel good factor of cutting down and I was also saving money into the bargain.
It also had a good side-effect of making sure I took a break from my screen every hour which is also important, health-wise.
Choosing your “ciggy place“
As for you, my dear reader, think carefully about selecting your “ciggy place”.
Don’t go over the top and make getting a smoke such a miserable task that you give in to the hassle in the end.
The idea is just to hold you up a few minutes to give you time to think, and force you to decide if it’s really worth the effort. That’s all, it is a very powerful and effective tactic when you get it right.
Of course, you will never fully appreciate this unless you actually do it. Take action right now!
If you can place your cigarettes in a place like your garden shed for example, that means you get to stretch your legs and get some fresh air, this may or may not be practical for everyone.
I have been writing this using the assumption that everyone is at home all day and night like me, which of course they are not.
At work, the chances are that you cannot smoke there anyway, if you can smoke at work then I suggest you leave your ciggies in your vehicle or your locker, or even with a friend if you are out of choices, anything to stop you simply reaching into your pocket for a smoke.
I’m sure you can work out something for your own particular set up. Just move your cigarettes away so that it takes a bit of effort and you have to stop what you are doing to go get your fix.
Note: Keep a pen and paper in your “ciggy place” so you can keep count of how many you smoke.
How did you do?
If you failed to stick to rule one on your first day then don’t be too down on yourself. The first week is always the hardest, just plug on and maybe change your ciggy place and start again tomorrow. You WILL get to day two and beyond, I promise you.
My hope is that most people will find that at the end of day one they have stopped chain smoking, and most hardened smokers will have cut to one cigarette an hour, or maybe even less.
At the very least, doing this will cut your habit significantly and you will have achieved something to be proud of.
If you are not one of the lucky one’s that this works for I am really sorry, everybody is different. My advice is to study your smoking habits honestly; there will be a big clue as to what you need to do to help yourself, just be clinical and brutally honest with yourself and ask the question, why did I smoke that last one?
Note: Don’t cheat the system and take more than one cigarette at a time, you will ruin your chances of success and you will have that cheating feeling inside you, which is not good when you need to stay positive and happy OK?
Good luck chain smokers of the world.
I would really love to know how this tactic worked out for you.
Please comment below
Note: I am just a guy of average intelligence. I have no qualifications as a doctor, therapist or counsellor. My knowledge on this subject comes through my own experiences, not books or teachers. Before I wrote this article I did not even research this on the Internet as I didn’t want to cloud my mind with other peoples ideas before I came to my own conclusions. Having said that, if you want my advice I will try to help if I can.
It may be worth checking out these Herbal cigarettes on UK Amazon personally I have never tried them, but they may help some people. Click the link for a whole page of other quit smoking ideas.
United states readers please click here for quit smoking ideas and products.
After I finished writing this article last night, I still felt there was going to be people it had not helped.
I worried about the people that simply couldn’t find a ciggy place, or those that did and still found themselves chain smoking somehow.
I laid on my bed in deep thinking mode, looking for new solutions, and eventually I came up with what I thought was the perfect solution, a portable ciggy place.
What was needed was to be able to lock peoples cigarettes away for an hour (or whatever time was required) in some sort of portable safe.
Portable ciggy place
Conclusion, I was thinking a cash-box style thing with an electronic timer lock.
This would work for me I’m sure. I could also see me setting it for an extra minute each day on top of the one hour wait and therefore I could wean myself slowly down from 15 to 5 fags a day.
I thought I’d do a Google search just in case and to my great surprise, I found the exact idea had already been done!
It isn’t exactly how I envisioned it, but it does precisely what I hoped for.
The price, (I’m not allowed to mention it, because of my Amazon terms & conditions) is a bit too expensive for me, but you could argue it will easily pay for itself in a few weeks in saved cigarette money.
Here’s the UK amazon link: http://amzn.to/2e65J3A
Here is the USA Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2fj1jKt
There are simply tons of things you can do with this box, as the image above suggests. I like the idea of torturing the kids by putting their mobile phone and TV\Games remote under lock and key for an hour as punishment for breaking rules lol.
It could be useful to anyone with a habit that needs controlling, not just smokers. It could help gamblers who could bung their money in there, shoppers their credit cards, choccy addicts, etc.
Yes you could cheat and take out more than you need, but if you cant be strong for just those few seconds you must be in real trouble and would need someone to be in charge of your ciggy place to make sure you don’t cheat.
If you liked this article you may also enjoy: The Bridgend Suicides Mystery
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